18th Jan2018

Digital Shorts: ‘The Coma: Recut’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Matthew Smail

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at The Coma: Recut, a new Korean horror game now available on the Nintendo Switch.

the-coma-recut

In The Coma: Recut, players take on the role of Youngho; a student who is about to sit his final exams even despite an unfortunate turn of events at his school. Positioned somewhere between a point and click adventure and a narrative adventure with survival horror elements, The Coma: Recut is effectively a redux of a little known (but well loved) Korean game The Coma: Cutting Class which was first released in 2015.

The game begins with a tired and demoralized Youngho falling asleep at school, only to awaken at night and seemingly all alone. Story events leading up to this set a dark tone and it isn’t long before Youngho is in real trouble, thanks largely to ahis beautiful but psychotic teacher, Ms. Song. On the run, Youngho must search the school for items and information in order to escape, all the while avoiding Ms. Song by clambering into lockers or by using a time limited “hold breath” action that saps his stamina and prevents him sprinting away.

As in at least one other game based on a Korean high school that I’ve played, The Coma: Recut features an abundance of notes and collectibles that range from completely pointless to mildly interesting. These do flesh out the story when you piece them together with some of Youngho’s interactions with NPC’s, but in honestly I found all of these expositions a bit repetitive and unoriginal.

NPC’s come in various guises and I think the creators intended to create a sense of mystery, but mostly I just found the dialogue to be overlong yet lacking in substance. Some characters such as Youngho and Ms. Song are actually quite well done, but others fall into more traditional roles like “hopeless love interest” or “one dimensional bully jock.” It’s fine, but I found nothing new in the characters and story to really hook me.

A bigger problem is probably the controls, which on Switch just don’t feel great. The Coma: Recut isn’t a bad looking game, with great anime-realistic visuals, but navigating areas is a chore. Every action is button driven and inorganic in execution, which is what gives the game a point and click feel. You seem to need to really drive buttons into the controller to do things as unimportant as pick up notes. When Ms. Song appears (which is frustratingly random) escaping from her is more difficult than it needs to be.

In summary, The Coma: Recut is an average horror experience that looks good, but a fairly poor game in most ways. It’s not exactly badly executed, but as a remake it feels like quite a cop out – I’d be surprised if creators Devespresso were entirely satisfied with the finished product given the additional two years since Recut’s original release. Overall, a promising game that sadly proves to be a disappointment.

** 2/5

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